UK government websites could be at risk from cyber attacks orchestrated by pro-WikiLeaks hacktivists, national security adviser Peter Ricketts has warned.
According to the AP, Prime Minister David Cameron’s office said that Ricketts has warned departments of the possibility of cyber attacks following the extradition hearing of WikiLeaks founder and editor Julian Assange at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.
Assange is wanted in Sweden for questioning over alleged rape and sexual molestation.
A spokesperson for Cameron’s office said that the government is most concerned about websites which store sensitive user information, such as those used to fill in tax returns or claim benefits.
The warning follows a series of coordinated distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks launched against companies deemed to be standing against WikiLeaks, including PayPal, Mastercard and Visa, by the self-styled “Internet gathering” Anonymous.
The attacks are part of the group’s Operation: Payback, the codename for the joint effort of Anonymous members to fight against organisations they believe to be seeking to “misuse” the Internet or target WikiLeaks.